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Daily News Digest – December 13, 2018

Presented by the Stop The HIT Coalition


Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, December 13.


1. Farm Bill passes, Alabama delegation unanimous.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives gave final passage to the Farm Bill Wednesday, sending the more than $400 billion agriculture and nutrition legislation to President Trump’s desk.
  • Trump has previously indicated he would sign the bill.
  • The House voted 369-47 to pass the legislation after the Senate approved it 87-13 on Tuesday.
  • Each of Alabama’s seven Representatives voted to pass the legislation. As I mentioned yesterday, Alabama’s two Senators also supported the bill.
  • The bill, which sets federal agricultural and food policy for five years, was negotiated in conference committee for months after the House and Senate passed different versions earlier this year.
  • The result was a compromise that did not include the stricter food stamp work requirements House Republicans wanted, but did include stronger anti-fraud and anti-duplication provisions.
  • Rep. Mike Rogers, who is Alabama’s lone member of the House Agriculture Committee, helped negotiate the long-sought compromise and said he was “proud to sign the Conference report this week after a lot of hard work.”
  • “This Farm Bill strengthens the farm safety net for Alabama’s farmers and producers and it provides five years of certainty. America’s farm economy is still struggling, and this bill will be a much-needed shot in the arm,” Rogers said.
  • Read more about the Farm Bill, including reactions from others in the delegation, in Caroline Beck’s full story HERE.


2. Byrne plays key role in breakthrough sexual harassment policy.

  • Congress has reached a landmark agreement on a bill to overhaul the process for handling sexual misconduct allegations within its halls.
  • Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne played a key role in updating the decades-old Congressional Accountability Act, which governs how lawmakers and aides report sexual misconduct claims. The law has been widely criticized as confusing, cumbersome and unfair to victims of harassment and abuse.
  • When faced with updating the law, House leaders called on Byrne’s experience in labor and employment law prior to his entry into politics.
  • “I am very pleased we have reached this bipartisan, bicameral agreement to fundamentally reform how we handle employment law claims in the Legislative Branch,” Byrne told Alabama Daily News.
  • “No longer will Congressional staff be subjected to an unfair and archaic process and no longer will taxpayers be asked to foot the bill for anonymous sexual harassment settlements committed by Members of Congress.”
  • The push for the legislation took on new urgency in the past year, as more than a half-dozen lawmakers resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct and Capitol Hill found itself squarely at the center of the growing #MeToo movement.
  • As the lead Republican negotiating the bill, Byrne found a perhaps unlikely ally in Democratic Rep. Jackie Spier of California. The two testified before the House Administration Committee in November 2017 about the need to overhaul Congress’ sexual harassment policies and began finding common ground.
  • Full story HERE.


A Message from the Stop The HIT Coalition

  • The Stop The HIT Coalition thanks Senator Doug Jones for protecting Alabama small businesses, middle-class families and seniors from the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.
  • This costly, unfair and hidden tax increases the cost of health insurance in the small business market, needlessly stifles economic growth and should be repealed.
  • Senator Jones joined a bipartisan group in urging Senate leadership to prioritize urgent cost savings for hardworking Alabamians before the tax returns.
  • Thank Senator Jones for working for Alabama small businesses and families by supporting efforts to stop the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.


3. Orientation has State House a-buzz.

  • After being mostly quiet the last six months, the Alabama State House has been a bustle of activity this week with legislative orientation.
  • New members of the House and Senate – along with many spouses – are in town going through a full slate of meetings and training sessions meant to bring them up to speed on the rules and procedures of the Alabama Legislature.
  • Many veteran lawmakers are also in town, offering encouragement and advice to the “freshmen” class while getting a head start on issues and potential legislation heading into the 2019 Regular Session.
  • Put on by Othni Lathram and his team at the Legislative Services Agency, this year’s orientation includes an ambitious three-day schedule of seminars, from mandatory ethics training to sexual harassment prevention and diversity training, as well as an overview of Alabama finances and the budgeting process.
  • There’s even a session on how to deal with us media hacks!
  • State Rep. Steve Clouse chaired the planning committee for the orientation; State Sen. Vivian Figures, State Rep. April Weaver, and Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed served on the planning committee as well.
  • ADN’s Caroline Beck was in the State House yesterday and caught up with several new lawmakers to ask about the experience.
  • She also spoke with Senate President Pro-Tem Del Marsh about how new members are getting acclimated and how it will impact the 2019 Regular Session.
  • Read her full story HERE.


4. Ivey promotes key staff.

  • Gov. Kay Ivey continued to make key changes to her staff this week as she prepares to assume her full term in office.
  • Adam Thompson is being promoted from Appointments Director to Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. He joins Liz Filmore, who is serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration. Both deputies will report to Chief of Staff Steve Pelham.
  • Assuming the Appointments Director position is Catherine Gayle Thrash, who is currently the governor’s Confidential Assistant.
  • Legislative Liaison William Filmore will add Director of Local Government Relations to his title and serve as Ivey’s point man for city and county governments.
  • “Adam, Liz, Catherine Gayle and William are valuable assets to my staff, and I look forward to continue working alongside them to better serve the state of Alabama,” Ivey said of her staffers.
  • Full write up from ADN’s Will Whatley HERE.

5. Skip Tucker: A bad day for Santa.

  • Skip Tucker promised a Christmas story, and boy does he have one.
  • Ever wonder how the angel made it a-top the Christmas Tree?
  • Well, according to Skip’s irreverent tale, it’s all due to a no good, very bad Christmas night many many years ago.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“We don’t have a Christmas tree,” Mrs. Claus said. “An elvish oversight, is all.” She smiled delightfully. “It is still a Merry Christmas, dear.”
Santa thought this must be some new definition of the word Merry that had escaped him.
Wearily, he shook his head. “It’s Christmas Eve, and the Claus family has not a tree,” he said, smoke curling ‘round his head like a wreath. Nevermind that he didn’t have his pipe.
“I could be fired for this, for cause. It’s in the contract. It’s the Claus clause for cause.”
Santa looked around, spotted a little Cherub walking nearby, and grabbed him by his halo…
  • Read Skip’s full column HERE.


News Briefs.

This Just In…
  • Attorney General Steve Marshall will be making a statement at 10:30 a.m. today in his Montgomery office about matters regarding the Thanksgiving night shootings at Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover.
  • That will be news. We’ll be there.
Birmingham stadium breaks ground today
  • Work is ramping up on a new outdoor stadium in Birmingham.
  • A groundbreaking is set for Thursday afternoon for the new, 55,000-seat multi-use stadium that will be located next to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
  • Crews already are moving utilities and doing other site preparation work. But construction on the $174 million structure won’t begin until the spring or early summer of 2019.
  • The stadium will be an upgrade to the city’s 91-year-old Legion Field, serving as a new home for the UAB football team and other events.
  • The BJCC authority that oversees the project is also is making improvements to the nearby Legacy Arena and adding additional meeting and exhibition space.
Judge orders state to show work
  • Judge Myron Thompson has ordered the Alabama Department of Corrections to show how it has attempted to comply with the court-mandated deadlines to increase mental health staffing in Alabama prisons.
  • The order comes after plaintiffs asked the judge to find DOC in contempt for failing to meet the staffing deadlines.
  • DOC has until next Friday to submit answers in writing. A hearing is called for January 7.
  • Read the full story from’s Mike Cason HERE.
Another Hudson Alpha breakthrough
  • Researchers at Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha have made a potentially big breakthrough in battling infant epilepsy.
  • Scientists have pinpointed a piece of genetic code that causes infant seizures.
  • The discovery could potentially open the door to new diagnostic and treatment options for families with infants who show signs of epilepsy.
  • Scientists at the HudsonAlpha Institute For Biotechnology in Huntsville collaborated with teams around the country on the research.
  • Read and watch the full story from WAFF’s Allen StroudHERE.
Special Delivery
  • Four U.S. Postal Service workers in Mobile are accused of stealing packages in connection with a marijuana distribution scheme.
  • U.S. Attorney Richard W. Moore said a grand jury indicted the four Mobile workers: 33-year-old Unterria J. Rogers, 26-year-old Devon Donald, 26-year-old Sade Martin and 25-year-old Shambria Hill were each indicted on charges including stealing mail entrusted to them for delivery.
  • Rogers also was indicted on charges of conspiring to distribute marijuana and possession of the drug with the intent to sell it.
  • Read the story with a link to the U.S. Attorney’s release HERE.
Senate to vote on Yemen/Saudi resolutions
  • Senators are expected to vote Thursday on a resolution that would call on the U.S. to pull assistance from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, a measure that would rebuke Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • The Senate may also consider a separate resolution condemning the journalist’s killing as senators have wrestled with how to respond to the Saudi journalist’s murder.
  • U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must have at least known of the plot, but President Donald Trump has been reluctant to pin the blame.
  • While enough Republicans support the resolution, which was sponsored by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and most other Republicans oppose it.
  • “I think every single member of this body shares grave concerns about the murder of Khashoggi and wants accountability,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.
  • “We also want to preserve a 70-year partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and we want to ensure it continues to serve American interests and stabilizes a dangerous and critical region.”
  • Full story HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – At the State House, many new faces and some familiar ones for Legislative Orientation
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Governor Ivey Announces Important Changes to Staff
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Byrne plays key role in reforming Congress’ harassment policies
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Farm Bill passes House, Alabama Delegation unanimous
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – When it comes to natural gas, US ‘open for business’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP interview: Jones says farmers scared by Trump tariffs
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birmingham breaking ground on new 55,000-seat stadium
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Postal workers accused of stealing mail, trafficking weed
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate to vote on aid to Yemen in wake of Khashoggi slaying
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Skip Tucker: Why an Angel A-top the Christmas Tree?
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – December 12, 2018
AL.COM – Nancy Pelosi agrees to step aside in 2022 to secure votes in bid to be House speaker
AL.COM – Alabama AG says some CBD from hemp now legal
AL.COM – Mobile council, mayor pledge to improve relations
AL.COM – Alabama Senate Democrats choose leaders for 4-year term
AL.COM – Condoleezza Rice helps break ground on new A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club clubhouse
AL.COM – Judge orders Alabama prison system to show why staffing lags
AL.COM – Shipt named among nation’s company culture leaders
AL.COM – Doug Jones: Washington Post’s Roy Moore story ‘didn’t help me’ win Senate contest
AL.COM – Tennessee earthquakes felt in Alabama Wednesday morning
AL.COM – Alabama parents no longer wait years to get help paying for childcare
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Carver High senior charged with reckless murder in death of schoolmate
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Husband and wife judges discuss working together
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – A proactive step, district attorney’s office gives nonprofit That’s My Child $1,000 donation
DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan woman charged with falsely reporting home intruder
DOTHAN EAGLE – District 2 board rules to uphold suspension of Charles Henderson basketball star Maori Davenport
DOTHAN EAGLE – Need for substitute drivers increases for Houston County Schools
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Del Marsh congratulates Bobby Singleton on election as minority leader
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Ivey announces staff changes
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama lawmakers celebrate passage of 2018 Farm Bill
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Northport works on vicious animal rule patterned after state law
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – West Alabama’s Qua Boyd earns All-America honors
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Northport man faces child porn charges
DECATUR DAILY – Trustee calls Priceville Partners ‘a Ponzi scheme’ as sheriff settle
DECATUR DAILY – Engineer: Spring Avenue detours to be removed in less than a week
DECATUR DAILY – Blood drive honoree: Priceville 10-year-old stays upbeat amid leukemia treatment
TIMES DAILY – Muscle Shoals man pleads guilty to insurance fraud
TIMES DAILY – Kitts: First Amendment is ‘alive and well at UNA’
TIMES DAILY – Loretto receives grant to expand water service
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Candyland in national news
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Certification, pay factors in shortage of technical teachers
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Flash flooding possible tonight
TROY MESSENGER – DRAMA QUEENS: CHHS students bring home acting awards
TROY MESSENGER – Deputies seize $40,000 worth of marijuana during raid
TROY MESSENGER – Man injured in car wreck, driver missing
THE ANNISTON STAR – Relaxed school lunch rules may mean fewer whole grains, more milk fat
THE ANNISTON STAR – Wood leans on experience of predecessor, old boss in new role
THE ANNISTON STAR – Grade aid: High school data center should help teachers spot academic weak spots early
GADSDEN TIMES – Ball Play family’s Christmas display to be featured on ABC
GADSDEN TIMES – Sweet Home Sextuplets to return for second season
GADSDEN TIMES – Man charged in connection with mail thefts
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Auburn men’s basketball toy drive brings in more than 1,500 donations to Toys for Tots
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Oak Bowery Road reopens following natural gas leak
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Valley teen dies from multiple injuries in November accident
CULLMAN TIMES – Judge gives ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen 3 years in prison
CULLMAN TIMES – AP Interview: Jones says farmers scared by Trump’s tariffs
CULLMAN TIMES – No prison time for Baylor frat president after plea deal in 2015 rape case
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Pelham library announces upcoming programs
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – UPDATED: Boil water notice issued for portion of Alabaster
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – THS student attends national band event in Orlando
THE MADISON RECORD – LifeSouth searches for rare blood to help two-year-old
THE MADISON RECORD – HPD releases information on fatal crash at Bob Wallace and Mobile Drive
THE MADISON RECORD – Boys at Madison elementary rally for hurricane victims
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Four in custody following armed robbery in Jasper
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Nauvoo resident dies in mining accident
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Oliver sworn-in as District 4 council member
NEW YORK TIMES – The Oil Industry’s Covert Campaign to Rewrite American Car Emissions Rules
NEW YORK TIMES – Theresa May Survives Leadership Challenge, but Brexit Plan Is Still in Peril
NEW YORK TIMES – Tabloid Publisher’s Deal in Hush-Money Inquiry Adds to Trump’s Danger
WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s ultimatum on border wall boxes in fellow Republicans
WASHINGTON POST – Publisher of the National Enquirer admits to hush-money payments made on Trump’s behalf
WASHINGTON POST – Probe of U.S.-funded news network that called George Soros a ‘Jew of flexible morals’ finds additional offensive content
USA TODAY – Steve Bannon still has bluster and bravado, but is he old news?
USA TODAY – National Enquirer owner admits paying ex-Playboy model $150,000 to squelch story, help Trump campaign
USA TODAY – Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, is sentenced to three years in prison for ‘dirty deeds’
POLITICO – U.N. chief calls for compromise, sacrifice at climate talks
POLITICO – Is Tom Cotton’s winning streak about to end?
POLITICO – ‘He got screwed’: Gillum absent from indictment after DeSantis bashed him as corrupt




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